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MLSA files criminal complaint against police brutality towards journalists

İstanbul – Several press and freedom of expression organizations including Confederation of Progressive Unions of Turkey (DİSK) Basın-İş, Journalists’ Union of Turkey (TGS) and Media and Law Studies Association came together at the İstanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan today and filed criminal complaints against police brutality towards journalists.

MLSA Legal Unit’s petition addressing the İstanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office stated that, journalists Erdem Şahin, Fatoş Erdoğan, Bülent Kılıç, Kübra Köklü, Yasin Akgül, Emre Orman, Ozan Acıdere and Zeynep Kuray who were following the Suruç Massacre commemoration on July 20, 2021 at Kadıköy, were specifically targeted and battered by the police via their shields and plastic bullets.

In the petition, it was also stated that the camera of one of the journalists was damaged due to water sprayed by an Anti-Riot Water Cannon Truck (TOMA), that the journalists were pushed by the anti-riot police towards the area where there were anti-riot trucks and police barricades. Many journalists who were following the protest that took place on July 20th were injured by plastic bullets fired by the police and a journalist was punched by an anti-riot police officer. 

Requesting the investigation of police officers on charges of “intentional injury”, “torture”, “violation of freedom of labour and work”, “property damage”, and “malpractice”; the petition also highlighted that premeditated maltreatment which does not reach the level of torture however leads to physical injuries should be considered not as legitimate intervention but inhumane treatment.

Moreover, the criminal complaint presented footage from various cameras to the prosecutor’s office and requested the identification and effective investigation of the police officers that were on duty that day.